That’s despite spending the second half of the year in the MLS with Inter Miami, having left PSG when his contract expired in June. Ronaldo himself was also honoured this week at the Globe Soccer Awards, picking up the treble of the Best Middle East Player prize, the Maradona Award for the best goalscorer in 2023, and the Fans’ Favourite Player of the Year.
And in an interview with Record, the Al-Nassr star voiced his frustration over the results of prestigious awards in recent times. “I think that, in a way, these awards are losing credibility,” he said.
“We have to analyse the entire season. It’s not to say that Messi didn’t deserve it, or [Erling] Haaland or even [Kylian] Mbappe. I simply no longer believe in these awards.
“And it’s not because I won at Globe Soccer. But there are facts, there are numbers. And the numbers don’t deceive. They can’t take this trophy away from me because it’s a reality. So it makes me even happier, because the numbers are facts.”
The Portuguese icon’s run of 19 consecutive Ballon d’Or nominations came to an end in 2023, following his switch from the Premier League to Saudi Arabia. The 38-year-old remains an integral part of his country’s international squad, but also believes the scepticism over his move to the Middle East has denied him the credit he deserves.
“We know how other organisms work,” he added. “Obviously, I always think about my club and the national team first. The awards come after a good season for the club and the national team. I don’t think about it much, honestly.
“As you said, well, the 54 goals I scored, there may be those who say it’s easier because I’m in Saudi Arabia. But football professionals know that it is difficult to score goals, whether in Saudi Arabia or in Italy, Spain or Portugal. A goal is a goal. In a way, I feel even more proud to have beaten Haaland, Mbappe and [Harry] Kane.”
Whether Ronaldo can inspire his club side to a Pro League title remains to be seen. Al-Nassr currently lie second but are seven points off runaway leaders Al-Hilal.